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Adventures of Brian Archives - A Step at a Time

Bedtime, sleep and children

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, child therapy, sensitive children, separation anxiety, sleep | No Comments

One of the greatest issues that I ever speak to parents about is bedtime and sleep… Whether it is: Difficulties getting to sleep Difficulties staying asleep Restlessness at bedtime Nightmares Night terrors Separation anxiety We all know how it feels when we have not had enough sleep… and when children do not get enough sleep the impact can affect the day or the days surrounding it.   So why do we need sleep? Sleep is an incredibly important function, for both our body and our minds. Sleep is needed for: Healing the body Repair of the body organs, muscles and bones Reduces inflammation in the body Reduces stress Increases concentration and focus Improves memory Improves problem solving Improves performance (intellectual and physical)   How much do children need? So how much sleep do children need? Great Ormond Street Hospital released the following guidance on sleep: Infants 4-12 months – 12…

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Top Tips for Back to School!

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anger, anxiety, mental health, school, self-esteem, sensitive children, separation anxiety, Stress | No Comments

As the world prepares for the return to school, parents up and down the country are getting the uniforms ready, purchasing new school shoes and packing lunch boxes…. But what else do we need to consider to prepare our children for a successful return to school? Get organised Double check school lists and requirements Make a shopping list and do it in one hit to reduce stress Wash uniform a few times to soften it up Plan a packed lunch menu so prepping is simple Practice putting uniform on and moving around to adjust Practice the walk to school to open conversation Prep everything you can the night before so the morning is less stressful   Get consistent Start getting up earlier in the week leading up to school to lessen the shock Start going to bed at ‘school times’ to adjust body clocks Create a morning ‘school’ routine and…

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Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anger, anxiety, bereavement, boredom, child therapy, confidence, depression, disordered eating, grief, mental health, self-belief, self-esteem, self-image, sensitive children, separation anxiety, Stress, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

As lockdown eases in some places, and starts round two in others, the world feels like a strange place to navigate. For the many parents that I am speaking to on a daily basis, the concern for child and adolescent mental health grows. The uncertainty of the world, the disruptions to education and the distortions to social lives, for many, has created a wealth of mental health issues, ranging from low level to crisis. But, as a parent, what do you need to be looking for? And at which point should you be stepping in and looking for help?   Signs and symptoms: Seeing signs of mental ill-health as warning flags is a great way to keep things in check. I frequently work with children who, in the face of adversity, coped like a trooper. However, in the months/years after, then began to struggle. Because life had resumed to a…

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Planning for the summer – Helping children to manage expectations and develop patience

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, relationships, self-esteem, sensitive children, well-being | No Comments

After months of disappointment, life being tipped upside down and some massive changes to daily routines, as adults we can feel discombobulated, and for children, many feel like their brains are about to explode. Supporting children to make sense of the world and to feel safer is key to building their resilience and helping them to manage natural anxiety. With the summer holidays now upon us, there is a wonderful opportunity to support children to start putting their worlds back into order so that they are well prepared for the return to school. Our brains run on patterns; every opportunity, sensory experience, place we visit, thing we hear is quickly run back to our brains stored knowledge to check if it is ‘safe’ ‘acceptable’ or ‘similar’ to what we have known before. If something matches then we can push forward, if not, it can raise anxiety levels, adrenalin or fear…

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Supporting Separation Anxiety in Older Children

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, Children's Therapy, confidence, self-esteem, sensitive children, separation anxiety, Stress | No Comments

In many cases, people can forget that older children can be as prone to separation anxiety as younger children and toddlers. In fact, as the years tick by, as a therapist, I see more and more children experiencing separation anxiety. What does it look like? In its simplest terms, separation anxiety, is when a child, teen or an adult is scared/afraid to be away from a particular person. Albeit a parent, guardian, partner or a pet. The concept of being apart from them creates severe anxiety. This can include physical and emotional symptoms: Headaches Stomach aches Crying / distress Begging or pleading not to leave Screaming Panic (inc. shaking, hiding) Retching or being sick Fear of leaving the significant person A fear that something ‘bad’ will happen if they are not with them A fear of being alone Refusal to sleep alone Refusal to sleep away from home / away…

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How do we support boredom when we are stuck at home?

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, boredom, child therapy | No Comments

When we choose to stay at home all weekend, lounging round and catching up on things we rarely get bored. However, when staying home is enforced and we lose the choice to go out, flit between shops and run errands we suddenly begin to feel very differently about things. In many cases boredom quickly sets in, and brings with it new levels of destructiveness. So, what is boredom? In its simplest sense, boredom is mental fatigue that is created by monotony (doing the same things over and over again) which creates a lack of interest in tasks and an empty feeling. What triggers boredom? Doing the same things repeatedly Lack of variety Too much predictability *It should be noted that we all NEED some predictability, boredom is created when there is little to no variety or no option for variety What does boredom look like? Boredom affects everyone differently, but…

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5 things to do to keep your mental health more stable whilst staying home

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, books, boredom, child therapy, confidence, depression, low mood, self-belief, self-esteem | No Comments

As the world faces a new challenge, and we are in a position of needing to stay home to protect others, ensuring that we take steps to protect the mental health of our family, and ourselves, becomes vital. Having spoken to many people over recent days, here are 5 things that you can action right now to support you and your family. Plan a routine – Whilst we have energy and focus, making a plan for the next 6-8 weeks can help give you structure and focus. For those with home learning to do with children, this will give structure to some of the day, for those working from home, this will cover some of the weekdays, but for all of us we need to consider the time around this. Consider activities you have been procrastinating about at home, jobs you want to complete, home learning you could do as…

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The story behind the Adventures of Brian

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, bereavement, books, hypnotherapy | No Comments

I often get asked WHY I wrote the Adventures of Brian. With an ever growing book collection many people we meet want to know how it was inspired and what comes next. So it seemed an apt time to share it with you, as the anniversary of meeting the little girl who would prove to be a game changer to my life is coming up soon. So here’s our story… the Adventures of Brian Back Story… I’ve worked with children for my whole career, at 16 I worked in nurseries, progressing up to Nursery Manager and later to Early Years support roles within the local council. In 2005 I became a lecturer in early years and health and social care and committed the following years to teaching students from 16 upwards in A-Levels and Foundation Degrees. I suppose you could say that working with children and young people was in…

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5 reasons why anxiety in teenagers is increasing and how you can help

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, Uncategorised | No Comments

The NHS defines anxiety as “a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe”, it’s prevalence in the population has seen a steady increase over recent years and in 2016 Mind.uk identified that around 6 in 100 people suffer with anxiety issues and Anxiety UK suggest that 1 in 6 teenagers will experience anxiety. This means that on average there will be around 5 children in any given classroom experiencing anxiety symptoms at any one time. The Fundamental Facts of Mental Health Paper 2016 found that ‘in the UK, women are almost twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders. From the APMS (2014) results it can be deduced that, in England, 6.8% of all women were diagnosed with general anxiety disorder compared to 4.9% of all men.’ It was shown that generalised anxiety disorder diagnosis’ rose from 4.4% in 2007 to…

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Child Therapy – From a child’s perspective… (testimonial)

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, books, BWRT, child therapy, Uncategorised | No Comments

I really love my therapy and coaching work with young people, their imaginations and willingness to open up and explore the child therapy techniques I offer means that they often experience big breakthroughs in 1-6 sessions (depending on the reason for attending). So you can imagine how touched I was when I received this beautiful story from one of my 12 year old clients which she submitted to a local radio station story writing contest, it looks at the session we completed to help her find some inner peace and joy…. she even had the chance to meet Brian my therapy dog! I’ll let her say the rest…    “Once there was a girl named Poppy and she was a big worrier for many reasons that cannot be explained. One day something life changing happened; she was going to see her one and only hero, worry expert Nicki Edwards and her…

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Perfectionism, Stress, School and our Teenagers

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, BWRT, hypnotherapy, Responsive Therapy, Teenagers, Uncategorised | No Comments

Having worked with the 16+ age group for 14 years this year (still feels like yesterday that I started) it’s been an interesting concept to watch the changes in mindset, challenges and mental health. One of the key things that is becoming more and more noticeable is that a higher number of teenagers and young people are striving to obtain a level of perfectionism that is causing higher levels of: Stress Anxiety Worry And in more extreme cases: Disordered eating Self-harming behaviours If you read my previous blog ‘Is the world causing our children anxiety‘ you’ll already know that I discussed the influence of social media and technology on our children’s limbic brain development (the part of the brain responsible for emotional behaviours) if not it is worth a perusal to look at the statistics released in the Child Mental Health Report 2017 where we see the links between social…

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Is the world causing our children anxiety?

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, BWRT, Children's Therapy, hypnotherapy, Responsive Therapy | No Comments

As the years go by my office is filled with more and more children and teenagers who are struggling with unwanted thoughts and feelings. Since I wrote the Adventures of Brian book collection this has only grown more considerably. Leading me to question – is the world causing our children anxiety? 19 years ago when I first entered the world of early years (working in a nursery) we would occasionally meet a child with separation anxiety or thumb sucking but these were few and far between. 15 years ago when I first went to work as a lecturer with 16-19 year olds you may have one teenager in your class with depression or anxiety but again it was much more a rarity than the world presented today. In the early days of my career, or even in my own school days you just didn’t find a huge number of children…

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A-B-C – are we missing the letters of child behaviour?

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, BWRT, Children's Therapy, hypnotherapy | No Comments

When I started my career working as a nursery nurse and later as a Nursery Manager and then a lecturer of early years I would routinely teach the ABC of behaviour to my staff and students… it was as simple as falling off a bike and a lesson I continue to use in my work as a therapist, however it is a lesson that we are forgetting in LIFE. Let me explain…. A B C of behaviour  The ABC of behaviour looks at child behaviour from the position that everything has an ABC A – Antecedent (the thing that caused the behaviour) B – Behaviour (the behaviour being demonstrated) C – Consequence (the result of the behaviour) It is an insightful way of remembering that NOTHING appears without a cause, so all behaviours from children are created by an ‘A’… Skipping the key letters…. However as the years go by,…

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Why our mummy bears need to be encouraged to engage in TLC

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, bereavement, BWRT, hypnotherapy, Responsive Therapy | No Comments

Why our mummy bears need to be encouraged to engage in TLC…. Please note – whilst daddy bear is not mentioned in this blog it is not for a lack of respect of his role – we are just focussing on mummies today! I know you’re probably wondering if I have lost the plot after a little too much sunshine this weekend, however it was a conversation I had whilst standing at a book fair that prompted this blog. Mummy Bear Syndrome may not be a known term, in fact it was a new concept that I learnt 5 years ago whilst sat training with Richard Wain in the concepts of Responsive Hypnotherapy but it explains nearly everything you need to know about mummies. On becoming a mummy a woman quickly sidelines her needs and jumps into the defence of her baby. The Mummy Bear leads her pack of teddy…

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2 reasons our children’s worries are greater than ever

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, BWRT, Children's Therapy | No Comments

Have you ever noticed that our children are worrying more than ever? Children’s worries are at an all time high. Every week in my office I am visited by children and teenagers who are struggling with worries, anxiety or catastrophizing about events that haven’t even happened. The incidences of appointments for these has risen significantly over the last year. This includes visits for: – Children worrying about safety – Child anxiety – Separation anxiety from parents – Children struggling with OCD or habit based behaviours – Sleep issues – Children who catastrophize about events that ‘might’ happen in the future So where has it come from? Before I start my explanations (from my personal perspective) I want you to cast your mind back to the late 1980s/early 1990s – the days when as children we were found climbing in trees, staying out on your bike, water fights with your super…

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